Quantcast
Connect with us

More than half of Americans at risk of shutoffs as economic crisis causes utility bills to pile up

Published

on

Couple worried as they analyze bills (Shutterstock)

On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that more than half of Americans are at risk of water, power, or gas shutoffs as unpaid utility bills pile up from the economic crisis — and emergency protections put in place by states begin to lapse.

“At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, many states acted quickly to ensure their residents would not lose their power or other utilities if their jobs or wages were slashed,” reported Tony Romm. “Now, however, only 21 states and the District of Columbia still have such disconnection bans in place. That leaves roughly 179 million Americans at risk of losing service even as the economy continues sputtering, according to the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association, which is tracking the moratoria. Millions more in nine other states are set to lose their protections starting Thursday and throughout the fall, the group found.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“Americans nationwide also appear to be racking up massive unpaid bills in the process,” continued the report. “Electric and gas debts alone threaten to reach or exceed $24.3 billion by the end of the year, according to a new NEADA analysis, released Thursday, based on roughly two dozen’ states regulatory filings. In some cases, the delinquencies appear to be severe. In Indiana, for example, more than 112,000 households are behind 120 days or more on their power bills, a Washington Post analysis of the largest local energy companies’ records found. The debt, totaling millions of dollars, is four times greater than the arrears accrued during the same period in 2019, the data shows.”

“The torrent of missed electric, water and gas payments underscores the severe cash crunch that continues to plague Americans nearly seven months after the deadly coronavirus sent the U.S. economy into a tailspin,” said the report. “Nationally, nearly one-third of adults still say they face difficulty meeting their regular household expenses, according to the most recent survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. That dour figure is compounded by the fact that 837,000 new workers filed for unemployment assistance last week, the U.S. government reported Thursday.”

Data from companies in many key states paint a grim picture.

“In Wisconsin, residents fell behind on their electricity bills in August: An average of three in 10 customers at five electric and gas utilities missed payments, totaling $235 million in arrears, state records show,” said the report. Meanwhile, “More than 68,000 Nevada residents and small businesses were behind on their payments last month, the Nevada Power Company recently told regulators, and half are past due by more than 90 days.”

Already, the shutoffs are beginning, with horrible consequences for some people.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This Tuesday marked 67 days of darkness for Kenneth Parson. He fell behind on his utility bills in the spring — and his lights went off, and stayed off, starting at the end of July,” said the report. “No power meant no refrigerator, so Parson, a 62-year-old with diabetes in Griffin, Ga., had no choice but to store his temperature-sensitive insulin on ice in a small cooler. He didn’t have an easy way to cook at home, either, so his wife, Cheryl, took to preparing some meals for him in a neighbor’s kitchen.”

Lawmakers in Washington have spent months trying to craft a second round of stimulus, which could give millions of people the relief they need to pay these bills. However, Senate Republicans, House Democrats, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have wildly different terms for the bill, making a deal hard to reach.

You can read more here.

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Signs of a coming conflict are everywhere’: Why a 2nd Civil War would be quite different from the 1st

Published

on

In 2020, the United States has been rocked by everything from a deadly pandemic and a brutal recession to civil unrest in a long list of cities to fears that violent conflicts will occur either on Election Day or after the election. Journalist Matthew Gault, in an article published by Vice this week, wonders if the political divisions in the United States run so deep that the country is headed for another civil war.

Describing the unrest that has occurred this year, Gault writes, "People are marching in the streets, aligned with two ideologically distinct factions. Many of them, overwhelmingly from one side, are armed, and violence and death has resulted when these two sides have clashed. The signs of a coming conflict are everywhere."

Continue Reading

2020 Election

A fake ‘intelligence staffer’ crafted the groundwork for the Trump conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden

Published

on

It's unclear why President Donald Trump and his allies have chosen to attack Vice President Joe Biden's last living son as a key tenant to the 2020 reelection instead of focusing on his opponent himself. But according to a well-researched NBC News report by Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, the "documents," actually came from a fake person that never existed using a profile photo created by an artificial intelligence face generator.

Months ago, there was a fake "intelligence" document about Hunter Biden that popped up online along with tons of "files" from a supposed laptop. None of it was real and it has all been dismissed by Trump's own associates as fake. But now it's being revealed that the company behind the effort was a fake "intelligence firm" called Typhoon Investigations, researchers and public documents revealed.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

BUSTED: Commerce Secretary was on board of Chinese joint venture — while running Trump’s trade war

Published

on

On Thursday, Foreign Policy reported that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross remained on the board of a Chinese joint venture — even while he was tasked with overseeing President Donald Trump's trade war.

"In Chinese corporate documents obtained by Foreign Policy, Ross is listed as serving on the board of a Chinese joint venture until January 2019 — nearly two years into his term as commerce secretary," reported Isaac Stone Fish. "That joint venture, now called Huaneng Invesco WLR (Beijing) Investment Fund Management Co., is an investment partnership formed in September 2008 between Huaneng Capital Services, the U.S. management company Invesco, and a firm Ross founded, WL Ross & Co. Huaneng Capital Services is an arm of China Huaneng Group, a major state-owned power producer."

Continue Reading
 
 
Democracy is in peril. Invest in progressive news. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free. LEARN MORE